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Pantry Challenge 2017-28

This month we’re avoiding the grocery store and shopping the kitchen. Here’s how we’re eating. It’s like reality TV, for food.

fish-dinner-pc

My word! We’ve got only three days left in this challenge. I’m surprised by:

  1. how quickly the time went – being sick probably contributed to that.
  2. how much food we still have – we are close, but I still can’t thaw the deep freeze.
  3. how little we spent.

Now it’s true that I overshopped last month, but even when you take that into account, we’re still doing really well on the grocery spending.

Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday, so we may go completely off challenge for that, depending on how he’s feeling. This infection really has taken a toll on him. I can’t wait for him to back to his good old self. Old, being 54. 😉

I had a few steaks leftover from Christmas in the freezer, so when I saw them on sale this week for $3.99/lb at Ralphs, I picked up enough to make a full meal of them. I’m also going to make Cheesy Potatoes (with Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup and a Caesar Salad. My eldest girl baked a chocolate bundt cake (his favorite) today.

We may go out for the other meals; just waiting for the birthday boy to decide.

As for the remaining days of January, I may need to run to the store to finish off the challenge unless I can bake 100% whole wheat rolls that the family will eat. That is kind of the deciding factor right now. Ha!

Pantry Challenge Meals, Day 28

Breakfast: Fend-for-yourself

Lunch: Hot Dogs and Sloppy Joes, side salads; I had a big green salad with leftover chicken instead of the other higher carb fare

Dinner: Grilled Fish, Couscous, Roast Vegetables

Sorry for the sad pictures. Early winter nights are not a friend of food photography.

How is the challenge going for you?

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Comments

  1. B: Chocolate bread, banana bread, orange slices, grapefruit
    L: Ham & potato soup, oranges
    D: Pork sandwiches on Jessica’s hamburger rolls, LO red beans and rice

    I had to make a run to the store today. We were completely out of milk (including powdered and canned) and eggs, which was preventing me from doing any baking. We are out or running low on nearly everything except baking supplies. To finish out the PC strong I did some baking tonight including another batch of rolls, some chocolate chip cookies and a loaf of Italian bread.

    • Good for you! We are going to eek by with whole wheat flour and cake flour. LOL. We have several bags of sugar — all kinds — which I’m trying to avoid, so they may last us months.

  2. Jan 28
    Breakfast–Husband had his eggs and I had my toast
    Lunch was leftover chicken fetticuini or pbj sandwiches and chips.
    Dinner–vegetable beef soup using leftover beef and gravy, carrot and onions from the fridge and leftover corn,green beans and peas from the freezer. It was really tasty. We also used up 4 hot dogs, 2 brats and 3 pieces of smoked sausage all leftovers from the freezer and buns from the fridge.
    Snacks were fried apples with whipped cream, muffins and string cheese

    My total for shopping this month will be $34!! The extra $316 will go in our emergency fund.

    We still have plenty of meat and veggies in the freezers. My list for February to restock is already made. My plan is to only buy what we truly need to complete our menu weekly and wait for sales for the rest. The immediate needs are sliced and grated cheese and tortillas and fresh fruit that isn’t apples and oranges!

    • Wow…$34 for the whole month! That is a tremendous accomplishment. Congratulations!

      • Thanks Lynne! Obviously we have too much protein and veggies. I basically bought milk eggs and bread and a couple of other things. The freezers look better but are still at least 2/3 full of meats and veggies. The fridge and my pantry have lots of empty spaces though so I am good with that!

    • That is fantastic ! I don’t have that kind of will power, lol
      Good for you!
      Melissa in GA

      • Thanks!!
        See my comments to Lynne.
        I am looking forward to grocery shopping! I miss it!! I am planning to take it slow with purchases until things are on sale. I definitely still won’t be buying alot !

    • Excellent job!

  3. Heather M says:

    Happy Birthday to your husband, Jessica! Hope he’s feeling better to enjoy it!

    Day 28, another successful Challenge day! We were pretty lazy this morning (hubs didn’t even get home from work until 10pm Friday night to eat dinner- thanks to the new administration), since the two grownups are fighting colds, and teenager sleeping like teenagers do. We only had lunch and dinner.

    L: son and I had tuna salad on crackers (pantry mainly) and apple slices; hubs finished off the cajun pasta leftovers.

    D: made a delicious chicken vegetable stew based on a slow cooker recipe but made stovetop and faster! Plus I was using canned chicken, so no need to slow cook chicken on their bones for the flavor. Anyhow, it used a bag of leeks and half a bag of spinach from the freezer (yay, more gone from there!), a couple cans from the pantry, and the last of the fresh whole carrots (still have baby), most of the fresh celery, and the last of the getting soft potatoes. Added dried herbs/spices and chicken stock, and yum! We had leftover cornbread on the side.

    Starting to get jumpy having such an empty looking freezer. I get worried in case something bad happens (not that it ever has before but a few days stuck inside for bad weather, and we’ve got plenty for a few weeks!). But I have to remind myself i really don’t want to be dealing with piles of refrigerated and frozen food when we get that new fridge soon. Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

  4. January 28

    Breakfast: finally the last of the pulled pork in another 2 small wraps. Used the last of the medium sized tortillas from the freezer. Ham and cheese omelette for hubs.

    Subway for lunch while we waited for our car to be finished in the shop.
    .
    Dinner: used up the last of the egg rolls and puffed pastry appetizers from the freezer along with some mozza sticks and potato wedges. One meal left for the sticks and wedges.

    Snacks: slurpees, popcorn and still more Xmas chocolate. Thus was a terrible food quality day!!!

    Definitely going to continue into February with the challenge. I’ve made enough progress to properly inventory the freezers, so that’s my plan for tomorrow along with creating a meal plan that focuses on the items in the fridge freezer.

  5. Laurie in CA says:

    I’m back on my low carb eating plan but on Saturday I can eat anything I want. I baked a loaf of artisan bread, cooled it, cut it in half and froze the halves. Hubs will have this later in the week with his dinners. We got free choc. chip cookie dough today with our u-bake pizza so I baked them and froze them for our grandson to have this week.
    B – we made a BIG breakfast of fried eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, homemade buttermilk spice muffins, milk and coffee
    L – we weren’t hungry so we skipped lunch but had a few corn chips and guacamole around 3
    D – pizza
    S – after dinner ice cream

    • How does your body feel transitioning from Saturday (eat anything I want) back to low carb? I?ve tried this too, but I feel it takes days for me to recover.

      • Laurie in CA says:

        It works really well for me. I have learned that my first meal on My “cheat” day needs to include a lot of protein and not sweets. I’ve also learned to really listen to my body. That’s why no lunch last Saturday but I had a snack of what I was craving. I try to eat as little processed food as possible so my goodies are usually homemade. That way I know exactly what is in them. I can’t do eating plans where I have to count calories, points or eat packaged foods. I like real food. Since I’m retired I have the advantage of time to prepare meals. I’m gone two days a week watching my grandson so I always plan ahead to take my own food.

  6. WOW- this was a really fast challenge- I still have lots of food to go.
    B= eggs, bacon, rice
    L= Lunch meeting- thai food
    D= leftovers from the lunch meeting

    We took the kids out to the movies to finally watch Rogue One, so we spent $84- cant believe how crazy expensive the movies are! Tomorrow I’ll be updating my inventory and making a meal plan for the next 4 weeks, looking forward to eating down our pantry next month.

  7. B: I had a smoothie, kids had waffles and bacon
    L: Pantry Challenge success! I made a tofu & veggie stir fry with a package of tofu that had been in the fridge for several weeks, some veggies on their last leg, a small can of pineapple juice and the last of 2 different kinds of rice. I can’t believe how much it made…leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, for sure
    D: Husband and I went to our son’s basketball game while the other girls were at sleepovers at various friends’ houses, so we took advantage of having only one kid and treated him to Bob Evans after the game
    S: Our kind server at Bob Evans brought us some coupons that another family had left at their table to see if we could use any of them. We picked the “25% off your whole check” and took advantage of it to add a whole peanut butter pie to our check, and took it home. It was quite a treat! (We also left the other coupons with our server to pass along to other customers who could use them, too.)

  8. tastycook says:

    We seem to be going thru fresh fruits and veggies like it is going out of style so that meant a trip to the grocery store yesterday. I am still fighting a stuffy nose but it has never gone further than that and I’m honestly beginning to wonder if that’s because of all the fresh fruit. Our aim is to keep hubby healthy and avoid him hacking away. While he is doing great, his chest still hurts if he coughs. While at the store we bought pork chops for supper last night (not that we don’t have pork chops but we saw them and they looked nice – and they were on sale!). Hubby is very good about eating whatever we have but the occasional time he says he would like ABC I try to oblige. Keeps him on side the rest of the time.

    Saturday

    B – fruit and yogurt

    L – turkey corn chowder (from the freezer)

    S – pork chops, roast potato, cabbage and carrots with apple sauce – boy, was it ever good!

  9. Saturday 1/28

    Breakfast – Last of the cinnamon rolls

    Lunch – Last of the tuna on crackers (still have a few of them to use up)

    Dinner – Beef stew and biscuits

    I did get some banana nut muffins baked and added cranberries to some, to try to use them up.

    Looks like the snow is here to stay…..about 6 inches out there now. What was there yesterday melted by evening but when we woke up this morning to every thing being white and still coming. They are calling for snow all week so might as well get used to it. 😛

  10. Stephanie M. says:

    Saturday:

    B – Hubby had home made French toast from the freezer – this is the only breakfast freezer food left; I skipped breakfast

    L – Hubby had grilled cheese and French fries; I skipped lunch

    D – Hubby went to the store and got himself a boboli pizza crust and made a pizza; I didn’t want to cook because of my cold and there is nothing left in the freezer that can be eaten by heating in the microwave or on the stove – no frozen pizza, no hot dogs, no leftovers, no frozen convenience foods, nothing; I was going to make some spaghetti with garlic and olive oil today but this cold just has the best of me; I didn’t eat any of the pizza until much later in the evening where I had two pieces

    Hubby is leaving for Texas tomorrow for an annual conference for his company; he won’t be back till Thursday night so not much more will be leaving the freezer this week in the way of meat. The good news is that I don’t have much meat/fish left.

    At the beginning of the challenge, I started off with a freezer full of leftovers, hot dogs, snacky foods, etc. My meat/fish drawer at the bottom of the freezer had home made chicken parmesan, a roasting chicken, beef cubes for stew, ground beef both regular and beef/pork mixture, 2 1/2 bags of large shrimp, 2 freezer bags with sauce and meatballs in each from a previous meal, an eye round for roast beef a pork roast, a bag of cooked sausage and peppers from a previous meal, various home made breakfast foods, 10 boneless pork chops, a bag of salmon fillets, a turkey breast, a bag of chicken legs, some thin sliced chicken cutlets , several vacuum packs of filet mignon steaks from a whole filet mignon that we got on sale at Christmas, and various bags of frozen veggies.

    Now, what I have left is: the turkey breast, the bag of salmon fillets, and half a bag of large shrimp, 3 more thin chicken cutlets (for sandwiches) a few more bags of the filet mignon steaks, along with a few bags of frozen veggies, two bags of turkey sausage crumbles, several slices of sliced roast beef from dinner last week for sandwiches, 4 uncooked home made burritos, and some Christmas cookies

    So as hubby leaves for Texas and I won’t be doing any heavy cooking this week, I am happy with the way my challenge went and will go and do some shopping during the week – not to load up my freezer with a ton of meat/fish; just to buy the things I need for one week at a time oh and a few snacks too. 🙂

    • That’s great progress, Stephanie! My hot dogs, snacky foods, easy reheatables, etc are also gone now!! Makes meal planning a bit more work!! Also makes lunch planning a bit of an adventure! But we’re making it through, and it feels so good to see the difference in the freezers!

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Lunch planning for hubby on the weekends is where I’m now having some difficulty. During the week, I usually pack him sandwiches using leftover roasted meats such as chicken, roast beef and sometimes leftovers from dinner. But on the weekends, I like to give him things he can’t necessarily make at work like hot dogs, grilled cheese, etc. I’m hoarding the sliced meats for his weekday lunches. I’m trying to cut down on deli meats so I always slice up whatever meat I have left from roasts for sandwiches. I made some jello yesterday and I have two boxes of pudding mix in the pantry yet but other than some more Christmas cookies in the freezer, we are out of any kind of snacks and easy to make foods. I will be doing some shopping this week to rebuild but not overdo.

    • Great progress, sorry you’re still feeling poor. You had me laughing yesterday – I knew everyone mentioned with husky voices and doubled over at your moms comment of sewing your mouth shut! Lol!
      Melissa in GA

      • Stephanie M. says:

        I’m glad I made you laugh. 🙂 That’s my mom; she’s a funny one alright. I think I get my wit from her. LOL

    • Stephanie. I hope you are able to kick your cold to the curb this week!
      I feel your pain about the limited amount of reheatables,snacks and precooked items. I only have some meatballs, one pack of hot dogs and some muffins. Everything else takes a little more thought and time to prepare!

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Yes, there really is nothing much to eat around here anymore without pullilng out the pots and pans. Thanks also for the well wishes. This cold is rotten!!!

        • It is, indeed. Take good care of yourself and push the fluids. I’m stunned at how badly my husband got sick. Will be stuffing him with vitamins and probiotics after this.

          • Stephanie M. says:

            Thanks so much, Jessica. I don’t feel all that bad during the day and hardly cough at all but the minute I put my head on the pillow, it’s coughing fits on and off all night. I’m so tired. I hope your husband feels better real soon and I’m hoping you’re on the mend too. 🙂

        • He is getting there. The antibiotics make him feel sick, but he’s almost done. I lived with Vicks on my chest and feet at night and a major dose of Nyquil. That got me through pretty well. Hang in there!

    • Heather M says:

      Oh i wish that cold would hurry up and leave you! No fun at all. Hopefully this week with your hubby out of town you can rest and kick it! On the flip side, sounds like you’re doing really well with emptying your freezer! 🙂

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Thanks Heather! It seems like it wants to go now but reminds me now and then that it’s still here.

        With my freezer, I had not ever seen it so void of meat/fish. We have never been so dire straits on snacks either. Hubby actually said I really outdid myself this time with the challenge. And we were at the point, where there were no snacks to eat so I ended up making jello which is usually something I make when we’re really low and now that’s gone too. With this cold, there was a day or two where I didn’t cook and there was nothing in the freezer for hubby to make for himself so he ended up getting pizza. So I did have to take myself shopping on Sunday. I didn’t go to town though. I only bought a couple of varieties of chicken – boneless breasts and split breasts. The boneless ones will be cooked on Friday night already when hubby is home from Texas and the split ones he likes to BBQ so that will happen next week. In between, I will finish the half a bag of shrimp we have left and also start on the 2 lb. bag of salmon fillets and then all I have left is several packages of Filet mignon and 1 turkey breast. There is sliced cooked roast beef and a meatloaf mix (beef/pork), and three thin chicken cutlets but they are all allocated for sandwiches for hubby’s lunch. (I’m trying to minimize the deli cold cuts we eat). And that’s it. So from now on, I’m only buying the meat/fish I need for each week based on the menu I make. I don’t feel there is a need to stock my freezer to the gills. 🙂

  11. 1/28

    B- husband took kids to the bagel shop for breakfast and brought home a dozen bagels which we froze, I had some LO baked oatmeal
    L- LO pizza, blueberries
    D- tomato soup from the freezer with grilled cheese in h/m bread, cantaloupe, pineapple upside down cake

    I did end up going to the farm for a weekly CSA yesterday for greens, apples, onions, carrots, milk and mushrooms and also bought some ground beef and sausage. We ended up right at budget for the month, which is better than overspending I guess. I am so impressed by how little money many of you have spent this month! My spending basically tells me that I’ve done pretty well to target our food purchases over the past six months with our eating needs and haven’t really over bought anything. I actually came in under budget in November and December somehow!

    I am going to make a short list of the items we have a larger supply of and work to incorporate those foods into our February meal plan several times per week. Frozen corn, frozen winter squash purée, canned tomatoes, dried beans, chicken stock, and frozen blueberries come to mind. Perhaps a big pot of chili and a blueberry dessert to start!

  12. Day 28

    B: Egg sandwich, Craisin bean muffins or oatmeal
    L: Leftovers
    D: Chili for DD1, date night for us

    HH and I stopped at the grocery store after dinner ( because that’s how we party.) We mainly bought produce and dairy. We did also buy breakfast sausage and beef sticks (gag) for DD2. She is our meat lover.

  13. My husband turned 54 last month – I never put it together that they are the same age. Happy birthday to him, I hope he gets to feeling better so he can enjoy it.
    Day 28
    B – big breakfast day: fried leftover cheese grits, scrambled duck eggs, bacon & cut fruit
    L – LO salad doctored up w/chopped pepperoni, black olives & a homemade Italian dressing
    D – chili w/cheese, sour cream & tortilla chips
    Dessert – last of the fruit crisp
    S- chips & chocolate
    Today was a great day for repurpose or use up leftovers. Also put up a small container of the chili for hot dogs later in the week. I used a can of great northern beans in the chili – these are about to expire and I had found them on clearance at target probably a year ago. Had never used them in chili but we really liked them and will use again for chili.
    Finding myself scrambling a bit today to make some substitutions for recipes to avoid shopping, this is when PC is interesting 😉
    Melissa in GA

    • Heather M says:

      Curious- are duck eggs pretty much the same as chicken eggs, at least in taste? Also, have you ever made a white chili? With cannellini or great northern beans and ground turkey or chicken? It’s my favorite to make. I add green salsa, chicken stock, other mexican-ish herbs/spices like oregano, cumin, and a little epazote. Also for spice some sort of chile like jalapeno or serrano (this is all off the top of my head- i’ve written down what i usually do, but it’s upstairs and i’m not). It’s a nice variation on the usual red chilis out there. 🙂

      • Duck eggs are a little larger, with a larger yolk. I had heard over the years that they’re great to bake with. My hubs says they don’t taste different to him, I think the scrambled eggs were a little more firm, but other than that don’t taste any different. Others have stated the taste is gamey, this could be their environment I am told. I’ve been cooking with them and am happy with them. The larger yolk makes for moist baked goods, I’ve only baked muffins so far.

        I have never made a white chili, not sure if hubs would like it. I’m not a huge chili fan, I make it for him. I put sour cream and cheese all over mine and eat with tortilla chips!! I will ask him if he thinks he would like to try it. Thx for the recommendation!

        Melissa in GA

  14. Drained the broth off the beef soup I made and used it to cook rice. The beef soup was made without potatoes. Since I have a chicken to use now I froze the cooked beef and veggies. Sometime when I need a quick meal I will make homemade mushroom soup and add that package of beef to make stroganoff over rice or homemade noodles. Making fried potato patties out of last nights mashed potatoes. Some leftover gravy over the top and poached eggs. The potato patties will be fried in the smaltz I skimmed off the chicken stock I cooked yesterday. There is bread rising..used the last of the whey from making yogurt. Cooling the rice now and will refrigerate it for making fried rice this week…
    I appreciate all the good ideas you ladies are sharing. When my bread is ready to bake it will share oven space with a small cake I am making using half a box of cake mix topped with cinnamon sugar before baking negating the need for frosting

    • Oh yeah! Saving cooking broth, I like doing that too. I got a 2 cup and a 1 cup container from the pork roast Friday night. In the freezer for rice or beans.
      Melissa in GA

  15. My freezers are starting to see some white space. Yeah! The garage refrigerator freezer has a turkey (bought on Dec 26 for $.49 a pound, couldn’t pass that up), two containers of Cool Whip which I have no idea why I ever purchased, marinara, and makings for about three additional meals. My in the house refrigerator freezer still can keep me going for at least two weeks. I’d made a full month meal plan for the the first time and have skipped several of the planned meals due to leftovers, substitutions or meals with friends. I’ll keep going into February just buying necessities. This week I bought baby carrots, mushrooms and spinach that were all on super deals with my Safeway U plan. It was good to get some fresh produce. At my daughter’s house I picked up 3 dozen fresh eggs. Their chickens are laying like crazy.

    Saturday’s meals
    Breakfast out
    Lunch-skipped
    Early Dinner-attended a funeral where a meal was provided

    Looking at that, no wonder I still have plenty.

  16. Having chicken enchiladas from the freezer tonight for dinner. I was making very good progress on clearing out my freezer when my local store had ground beef (80/20) was on sale for $1.99@#! I haven’t seen that price in a long time! Since I know it’s decent ground beef and can be used in so many different ways, I couldn’t pass up the sale. I pulled out the food saver and packaged up several pounds in 1 pound packages and cooked 5 pounds and packaged that up too. I broke my personal challenge to not spend money on anything other than fresh veggies and dairy this month but I know I won’t see ground beef at that price again. That’s my reasoning anyway and I’m sticking to it. lol

    • Holy cow, literally! Lol. I wouldn’t pass up that deal either. We have noticed a drop in beef prices lately, just not on ground beef. Maybe we will see it soon. At that price I would get at least 10lbs and food saver in 1lb packages- so versatile.
      Melissa in GA

      • Laurie, that is too good of a deal to pass up! Pat on the back to you!

      • Laurie, same here….last summer I found some unbelievable rock bottom prices on meats that I had not seen in years. Had to buy b/c surely I didn’t want to pay the higher prices later. 🙂

    • I would have jumped on ground beef at that price too! Feel proud of yourself for being a deal hunter! I remember the old days when you could get meat for a dollar a pound. Sigh. Chicken once in awhile but that’s it. Food savers are awesome.

    • Great price on the beef. The pay price for us farmers has really hit rock bottom since the holidays, so I’m almost glad to hear that the price is being reflected in the market. That doesn’t happen a lot of the times when our prices are so low. Our buyer has told my husband we should see a slight increase by months end. We are hoping so, because we have been holding some of our steers a little longer in hopes that he is right. So, if you see good prices I would definitely not pass them up!

    • I would have bought the ground beef too! I got 20lbs in December for $1.78lb. I hadn’t seen that low of a price in forever.

  17. My 90 year old father has become a bargain shopper after living with hubby and me. Before that he didn’t know what was a bargain. He was going in to town Sunday to pick up a newspaper and ask if I needed any groceries. I said no, we are still doing a PC and I’m good. Well, he came home with a very large beef roast. He was so proud as it was marked $ 5.99 a lb. and he got it marked down to $ 1.99 a lb. That’s his favorite cut of meat and I didn’t have any in the freezer. We cooked it right up! There is probably enough for about 14 servings. We too have seen beef prices come down here in the midwest.
    28 th
    B. smoothy using up the last of my mandarin oranges
    L. l/o Silver Dollar City skillets for 2 and l/o freezer burritos for 1, plus l/o brussel sprouts, and freezer angel food cake.
    D. beef roast, potatoes, onions, and last bag of baby carrots plus gravy. It was delish!

  18. Sunday – 1/29/17

    Breakfast – Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal and decaf coffee

    Lunch – remainder of the tuna fish with homemade pickled cucumbers; yogurt with chia seeds.

    Snack – cup of hot tea (my house feels cold today!) with some Vanilla wafer cookies

    Dinner – Lamb stew (lamb neckbone from freezer) with pantry and refrig veggies; slices of Italian bread -n-butter.

  19. Sunday eggs pancakes juice grapefruit
    Skipped lunch
    I took a spaghetti meal to oldest daughters family for dinner together , also took a 4 layer red velvet cake I got on markdown for $ 2.61(original price 14.99) everyone loved it.
    I to am setting a smaller food budget for the next month or two. Want to use up a few more things. I have a lot of food due to being a smart bargin shopper(and a lucky one) such a abundant blessing when so many have very little, doing a PC makes you count your blessings. Peace to all.

  20. How sweet of your daughter to bake her dad a special cake for his birthday. 🙂

    Sat. 1/28/17

    B: Pancakes, pineapple, OJ, coffee.

    L: Egg salad sandwiches, pineapple, pear slices, salad, carrot sticks w/ hummus or ranch.

    D: Potato cheese soup, salad, pineapple.

    S: Nuts, string cheese.

    Hope the Fish Fam is fully recuperated soon!

    Have a great week, everyone.

  21. Danielle L Zecher says:

    Breakfast: Fried eggs and rice for me.

    Lunch : Potstickers w/ a sauce loosely based on the one in your 30 minute cookbook.

    Dinner: I had a cooking class, so ate dinner there. Hubby’s on nights right now, so couldn’t go to the class. I made him a beef and bean pie. He loves it, and I think it’s totally disgusting. He had some of that before work, and took some to work for dinner.

  22. I’ve been away from the chatter on here for a few days due to the business of our butchering weekend. I really enjoy reading everyone’s posts and a lot of times I get inspired to make something by reading what you all are cooking. I’m so thankful Jessica provides this forum for us. On Thursday I got my last deep freeze cleaned out before I filled it again. LOL I was quite impressed that I really didn’t have as much as I thought. I still had a lot of my frozen garden produce in that freezer because when it was canning time I had so much that it wouldn’t all fit in my upright that is designated for that stuff. So, when I took all of that out and put it in the upright and organized what was left it wasn’t too bad. Even after putting a whole hog that we processed on Saturday in I still have plenty of room! That tells me I’ve been much better at watching my purchases and using what I have, because I know years ago when it was time for our annual butchering weekends I struggled to fit it all in. We ate some previously frozen food on Thursday and finished up some ice cream I wanted out of the way. On Friday we ate leftovers for lunch and frozen pizzas quickly before an early milking time in anticipation of the butchering festivities in the evening. On Saturday we had sloppy joe that I had made a huge crock pot of and everyone else brought something to contribute for lunch. It is always a delicious meal! Saturday evening after all the work was done and everyone was gone we ordered pizza, because we were all too pooped for anything else. We rarely get take out pizza, so it’s always our treat on butchering days. I’m hoping to do some pantry cleaning this week and make up spice mixes. I think my cabinets are going to show some space from this challenge!

    • Heather M says:

      What a good feeling to know you’re not so crowded in the freezer! Now you have the room when you make other things and want to freeze them. 🙂

  23. Chinese New Year was eat out but at least we used coupons and I stayed with in our food budget even with including non food and eating out. Took what we saved and bought the garden seeds for the next two years. Tonight we are having sausage gravy and bread with mashed potato patties…making due with what is fixed since I have the crud and am trying to not get worse…

    We have decided to eat from the pantry again for the month of Feb. Hubby wanted to eat out once a week and me every other week…even with knowing we would eat out once with Dad (it’s the only time he gets out of the house). Hubby pointed out our anniversary and Valentine’s day is also in there. I pointed out we could do Valentine’s and our anniversary together… we decided 3 with option of 4 IF we don’t go to the store more than twice.

  24. Monday – JAN 30

    Breakfast – decaf coffee and a hard boiled egg

    Lunch – A sweet potato

    Dinner – Garden Vegetable fettucine Alfredo with chicken bits and peas-n-carrots.

    It was Laundry Day in my house so I pre-made some meals from the pantry for the week too!

    – Corn Chowder using cream of corn and can of corn, evap milk can and vegetables in crock pot
    – Golumpkis (Polish meatballs of ground chuck/cooked rice) with cabbage and a tomato mixture in crockpot
    – Pulled pork in crock pot with pork shoulder that I found marked down to $1.25/lb!!!!
    – Four sweet potatoes in the toaster oven
    – Defrosted lentils from the freezer and added them to leftover lamb stew. Added a can of tomatoes and now I have enough “lamb soup” for another dinner.

    Yes…there were 3 crock pots going at one time in the kitchen today. Love cooking for a few hours and eating all week!!!!

    • Laurie in CA says:

      That’s the best way to cook! We always try to make more than we plan to eat. Planned leftovers make life easier 🙂

  25. Lots of leftovers here. Breakfast. Hubby had homemade hash browns and fried eggs. I had an apple omelet. Lunch was chicken noodle soup from leftovers. There is still lots of noodles left. I will use them to make a fritatta tomorrow with some bits of leftover cheese and a hand full of frozen peas. Hubby had leftover fried chicken potatoes and gravy for dinner with leftover cake and caramel sauce. I haven’t had dinner yet but I think I will use some of my leftover rice cooked in beef broth and part of an onion to make fried rice. A little splash of sesame oil at the end makes it special and not at all like leftovers.

  26. I will finish the month at $194. We usually spend about $600 for our family of 5. I am thrilled! I’ll go to the store on Wednesday for some produce and because there are some good sales for our area. Overall I’m going to try to go for a little longer to make up for a couple of unexpected bills over the month.

  27. Hey everyone!
    It sounds like everyone is doing awesome. I love getting ideas and reading about everyone’s adventures!
    Today I made 2 loaves of whole wheat bread, a batch of pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and pressure cooked a chicken in the instant pot. Lol. Again.
    Lunch was leftovers for the littlest one and me, and calzones and yogurt with carrots for husband and the other kiddos.
    I was planning on white chicken spinach lasagna for dinner but things for a little behind with barn chores tonight so I decided to make a breakfast-esqe dinner while using up leftovers. Go mom.
    I made a potato hash using yellow potatoes from my garden and the last 3 salmon fillets from last week. I just flaked up the cooked salmon into the potatoes and warmed it through. A little fresh lemon and lots of chopped fresh dill and it was done. we had salmon and potato hash with spinach and feta omelettes and cut fruit. It was quick and tasty. Tomorrow will be lasagna and salad.

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